Sunday, January 05, 2014
An Old Birthday Song
A couple of days ago I was doing something or other on the Internet and ended up on a site that had a question about the origin of an old birthday song that the person's grandmother had taught them.
That person furnished the words, and I recognized them. Our family had used the song for generations, ever since my childhood. I answered that I didn't know where the song came from, but that we all knew and used it at birthday celebrations.
Someone else asked if there was some way to share the music. I answered that I would try to do something about that.
I've decided that the song is probably long out of copyright, if any existed in the first place. I've spent a lot of time and effort searching for it, and it does not appear to be available anywhere.
Well, of course I've spent several hours playing around with this shiny project: first writing down the music with my songwriting software, saving it in both audible and visible formats, then trying to figure out how to share them.
I discovered a way.
Here is an mp3 file to download of what I'm calling Old Birthday Song. Our family appended the traditional Irving Berlin birthday song to the end of it, and since that one is tightly held, I'm not including more than two bars to get you started.
Here is a pdf file of Old Birthday Song to download so that you will have the words to learn. It's best to use the print icon in the source, not your nifty keyboard shortcut.
I hope you will be able to use this song with your family, and that it becomes a tradition in your celebrations. Enjoy!
By the way, if I'm wrong about there being no copyright, the song will go away from here.
NEW INFORMATION. "A Very Happy Birthday," credited to Beth Marchant, was published in the January, 1949, issue of "The Children's Friend" magazine. A box to the side says, "A NEW BIRTHDAY SONG. This birthday song is suggested for Primaries in place of the Primary Penny Song."
In 2008, my sister's daughter-in-law discovered this in the BYU Library, and acquired a photo image of the page, which she sent to my sister. I just received the image.
Although the words as I remembered them are just slightly different from the original, I used a different time signature and eighth notes instead of quarter notes, and a couple of the notes are not the same, I find it interesting that I pitched it in the original key!